September 25, 2007
Patriots A "Force" To Be Reckoned With
BY: Kevin Rousseau
"Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything.
--Han Solo to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars
Sitting in the south end zone on Sunday afternoon under a perfect early autumn sun with a gentle breeze blowing in our faces, my father and I had the football equivalent of this exchange as the fourth quarter played out. Sure, we've sat through some great Patriots teams over the years and we've seen our fair share of legendary teams breeze through Foxboro as the opponent. The great 49ers came once or twice and then there were those maddening John Elway-lead debacles.
And we have witnessed the three Patriot Super Bowl runs since the beginning of the decade. Off the top of my head, it seems that most of those wins came in the fourth quarter and then down to one or two plays. Think of the incomplete pass to Drew Bennett in the 2004 AFC Divisional Round game against the Titans or the Tuck Rule against the Raiders.
Of course it's only three games out of a 16-game regular season but to see a team that can so clearly dominate on both sides of the ball like the 2007 Patriots have done so far is to watch something never seen this side of the Mos Eisley cantina. It's gotten to the point that when Buffalo marched down and scored a touchdown we collectively turned to each other and said in our best Vince Lombardi impression "What's the hell's going on around here?" And for the offense, it's the same story. "A Tom Brady incomplete pass? How aggravating, Bertrand."
I'm sure you've been stopped in the men's room at work or by the bubbler (Do they even call it that anymore?) and had the "U" word brought up in the last few days. The "U" word should be put away and not brought out of its box until after Thanksgiving at the earliest. By that time, the Patriots will have had significant tests on the road at both Dallas and Indianapolis. I'm all for cute blowouts, but the Jets, Chargers and Bills are hardly top ten teams in the League right now. And beside the overuse of the "U" word, the other trait Patriots fans should guard against is not daring the football gods to humble us with a devastating injury or two because of ill-advised September cockiness ("Great, kid. Don't get too cocky!-Han to Luke after he shot down a tie fighter later in the movie that changed my life.)
Certainly, the other good news around Patriot Nation this week is that the whole Spygate fiasco is seemingly blowing itself out to sea with the NFL satisfied with the Patriots actions in coming clean. If you take off your Patriots-colored sunglasses for a minute, you have to agree that it did seem a little strange that just five days after the Commissioner of the NFL made the unprecedented move of going on national television and threatening one of its member clubs to come clean, the evidence in such a case was quickly destroyed. The article that your heart doesn't want you to read, but your mind should is Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column on ESPN.com's Page 2. Now, before you light me up on a messageboard near you for being an "ungrateful" Patriots fan please take a deep breath and relax. I'm not saying I believe everything in this column but it certainly has helped me to think through the issue in a new light which is exactly what a good columnist should be doing if they are any good at their job.
With spygate almost out of my consciousness, we can use the Force to focus solely on watching the work of a team that may come along once in your lifetime. It should make for a fun ride through October and into November before I feel compelled to address the silliness of the "U" word in a column. Besides, who cares about the "U" word if they get bounced out in the AFC Championship Game?
In the end, all that really matters is having things line up so that you are sitting on Aunt Edna's couch in Scottsdale the night before the Super Bowl in February and while watching Star Wars for the 3,258th time, you hear Han say to Luke : "Yahoo, kid. You're all clear. Now let's blow this thing up and go home."
Idle Zinger thoughts while making an appointment with my ophthalmologist after seeing the Eagles in their 1933 powder blue and yellow throwback uniforms on Sunday:
I don't usually dedicate columns but this one will go out to the biggest Star Wars fan of them all, my brother Brian. If you've been a frequent visitor to this space over the years, you know that he is my only sibling and has gone with me to a number of games including the Raiders and Titans playoff tilts. Over the course of the last few years, he has been stricken with Guillain Barre Syndrome which is a devastating paralysis that has made it very difficult for him to walk. One minute he was perfectly normal and then the next time I came home for a visit, he had a cane. I never have told him this, but seeing him with that cane was a truly awful moment in my otherwise wonderful life. It's an image I'm afraid I'll never shake. Through the last two years of his battle, he has displayed boundless courage and spirit that I pray will one day be rewarded. Lately, he has had some positive steps forward for which I am grateful for. If you want to learn more about this, you can click on here to the Guillain Barre Foundation's website.
On a lighter note, the Chiefs mascot, K.C. Wolf, got into the act on Sunday during the game at Arrowhead in a hilarious manner when a Cardinals fan ran onto the field. If you haven't seen the video, here it is.
Does anyone know the name of the Patriots punter?
My soon to be three year-old son just received his notice from the Green Bay Packers that he is now 68,031 in line for season tickets. Over the last two years, he has moved up an average of 700 spots annually which means that he will be offered tickets around the turn of the next century.
If you see Bertrand this week, please remind him (again) that his new favorite player going across the middle is pronounced Welker and not Walker.
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